By Karen Stokes
On November 2, President Biden delivered remarks on working to strengthen the infrastructure talent pipeline and highlighted how the Administration is bringing together employers, unions and other partners to train Americans for good-paying jobs in broadband, construction, and manufacturing following passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act and Inflation Reduction Act.
Union workers and other participants of the events were: Bryan Stewart, Superior Group CEO-Ohio Alyssa Cruz, an apprentice with IBEW, Illinois, (who introduced the President) and Tracey Carey, Executive Director at Midwest Urban Strategies.
Midwest Urban Strategies is a collaboration of urban workforce development boards from across the Midwest region. Members include workforce boards of Wichita, Kansas City, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Chicago, Gary, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Employ Milwaukee in Wisconsin
. There are 14 members who have organized together to bring the best practices in serving underserved and marginalized populations in the workforce development system.
“In the last 30 years we have seen a lot of manufacturing jobs disappearing,” Carey said. “In Milwaukee that was the base of our middle class communities and we saw those jobs move to the suburbs and even in the suburbs manufacturing has begun to disappear.”
Carey continued, “Now these reshoring efforts happening with the semiconductor industry and the supply chain that will follow is again an opportunity for folks to move into manufacturing and be successful. It’s going to require an investment in workforce development in order to make sure people have the skills that they need to be successful.”
At the event, President Biden said, “Look, for most of the 20th century, America led the world because we invested in ourselves. But somewhere along the way we stopped investing in ourselves. Jobs were going overseas. Now we’re sending products overseas, not jobs.”
“The CHIPS and Science Act has supercharged efforts to make semiconductors and small computer chips that power our everyday lives and every aspect of life. It’s going to grow and grow and grow,” Biden said. “And we’re doing it the right way: centered around workers and communities, bringing everybody along.”
“What I took away from the event was that there are so many people across the country working everyday to change the way that we do business in order to be more inclusive and to advance opportunity to all people,” Carey said.